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Author Topic: HOWTO Install Nvidia Driver on VL 5.1 SOHO  (Read 6519 times)


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HOWTO Install Nvidia Driver on VL 5.1 SOHO
« on: August 21, 2006, 05:32:49 am »

I know this has been done before, but the previous Nvidia HOWTO didn't work for me and required an extra step, so I would like to contribute this for those who may find it helpful.

To get the latest Nvidia driver installed in VectorLinux 5.1 SOHO I did the following:

1) Download the Nvidia installer package (.run) from their website - currently at

2) Find out what version of the Linux kernel you are running and download the full source code for this:

To do this, open up a terminal window and do
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uname -r
This should give you the exact kernel version, - in my case this was 2.6.13.

Now go download the full kernel source code for this Linux version, from - I went into the 2.6 tree and download the file linux-2.6.13.tar.bz2

Once that has downloaded, open a command line window if you don't have one already, and do

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su -

Enter your root password and you should not have root privileges.  Be careful as you now have root privileges! :-)

Change to the /usr/src directory with
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cd /usr/src

On my VectorLinux version, there already seemed to be a directory called linux-2.6.13 and a symbolic link called 'linux' pointing to it.  The linux-2.6.13 directory had a few files in it, but it is not the full Linux source code that the Nvidia installer will require to build the driver, so I now renamed that directory to something like 'linux-2.6.13.old'.

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mv linux-2.6.13 linux-2.6.13.old

Now we need to extract the linux source code into the /usr/src directory.

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tar -xvjpf /home/adam/Desktop/linux-2.6.13.tar.bz2

Obviously, change the path of the file to reflect where you actually downloaded it to.  This should have extracted the file into the /usr/src directory, so in my case it has put a new directory called linux-2.6.13 in there.  You should keep the 'linux' symlink pointing to the directory where the current linux source code lives - in my case I don't need to do that as the new source code directory is the same name as the one I renamed earlier, so the linux symlink is now valid again, but if it isn't for you, change it to point to the right one by deleting the 'linux' symlink file and using the 'ln -s' command to create a new one.

Right, so now that we've extracted the full linux source code we need to copy the config file from the old directory into the new one.

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cp linux-2.6.13.old/.config linux-2.6.13

This should copy the file named '.config' into the new directory, so now we need to built the kernel source.

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cd linux-2.6.13

The computer should now set about compiling Linux.  Once this has finished, we need to build the Nvidia driver.  To do this you will need to quit out of X11 if you haven't already.

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init 3

This should drop you at a login prompt, so login as root and change directory to where the Nvidia installer is.  In my instance...

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cd /home/adam/Desktop

You'll probably need to make the installer executable before you can run it.

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chmod +x ./

Obviously, replace with whatever the file is actually called.  Now that its executable, run it.

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Go through the prompt with the arrow and enter keys and the installer should carry on through and compile a driver.  It may ask you if you want to automatically edit the xorg.conf - there's usually no harm in it doing so, but if you want to edit it yourself..

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cd /etc/X11
nano xorg.conf

You will need to make sure that in the modules section, any lines that are loading 'DRI' or 'GLCore' are commented out.  In the device section change the driver from "nv"  to "nvidia" and save and exit (Ctrl-X)

In theory you should now be able to do 'init 5'  and load back up into with the nvidia driver.  Be aware though that some other modules might interfere with the driver loading, so if you get an error message, do an  'lsmod'  and look for modules such as 'nvidiafb'  or 'rivafb'.  Whilst these drivers are loaded you may not be able to load the nvidia driver, but mileage will vary...

Hope this helps anyhow. Let me know what you think.


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Re: HOWTO Install Nvidia Driver on VL 5.1 SOHO
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2008, 01:22:53 pm »

Thanks sugarat, very useful.